Monday, February 20, 2012

First Earthquake!!

This week was really really interesting.  A lot of crazy stuff happened. Like, lots. BUT, just the highlights for you.
[M]. This is the brother that drank coffee. We went over to his house again to teach him, and we told him that the mission president said he cannot be baptized on the 26th. We testified once again of the importance of obedience and the sacredness of baptism by proper priesthood authority. Then it all sort of exploded after that. His wife,who is a long-time member of the church got really angry and defensive. His brother-in-law,also a long-time member, started telling us that things like the word of wisdom are laws of man and not of God. [M] was the least angry of all the bunch. His wife got so mad she stood up and left the room and told us she didn't want to go to church anymore. It was probably one of the saddest experiences of my mission, not because I felt attacked or offended--I surprisingly didn't feel so!--but because it hurt to see that this family couldn't accept the commandments. It's sometimes very hard when there's nothing more you can do for someone--when they know the truth and they they know the commandments, but they exercise their agency in a way that makes them lose the blessings their Heavenly Father has prepared for them. Thankfully they showed up at church on Sunday, which made me so happy, but there is still a lot of preparation that needs to take place. But whatever it takes, when they do accept the commandments, they will be all the happier for having chosen to be obedient and worthy to enter into covenants.
Guess what!!!! I felt my first earthquake. During companionship study we were reading Preach My Gospel and the building shook for about 3 seconds. I freaked out and my blood pressure went craaaaaaaazy but nothing bad happened.
This week we started teaching a lot of new people. We have quite the variety of investigators right now! One of them is a hard-working mom that loves her children, but feels like this life is only meant for suffering. Another one is a woman that has a lot of vices and sadness in her life, but is so humble and so willing to change her life to draw closer to Christ. Another one is a man who seems to have nothing in his life but his job, but who wants to understand the scriptures. We started teaching a couple that let us into their home, fed us lunch and sang us a Mexican gospel song, and ate up the idea of genealogy and eternal families, but is tied to Catholic traditions that really are a part of how they've formed their identities, both within their culture and within their families. Everyone is so different! It's really true that as missionaries, we need to teach people and not lessons (see Elder Matthew Richardson's talk from last General Conference). Sometimes I wonder how I'm going to know what to teach to all of these people, because their needs are so incredibly different. They come from different backgrounds, have different trials and expectations, different beliefs and doubts, etc. My conclusion is that I really don't know what to teach, and I won't know what to teach, and I CAN'T teach, unless I have the Spirit with me (see Doctrine and Covenants 50)! Like Elder Croft (hee hee, awesome) Sister Camarillo and I talked a lot with [some Christian Church] this week, like every day for a few days straight. It's true, they really do know and study the Bible really intensely, and a few of them were trying so hard to tear our words down with leading questions and Biblical citations. But as long as we overcame the temptation to start fighting over details, and instead focused on bearing testimony of the Savior and the Restored gospel, I never felt intimidated or attacked. I know what I know, and I know this is the true church!
Hilariousness from this week: in Sacrament Meeting, the closing hymn started, and NOBODY was singing except my companion and I. Nobody! For at least a whole line of the first verse! Bahaha, so funny. Our ward struggles with the music sometimes, but I always love it. Also, Sister Camarillo and I were almost attacked by a bat! I felt awful. It was night and we parked the car and started walking a little to get to the house we were going to, and there was squeaking and black shadowy stuff above us. My poor companion--still in her first two weeks on the mission and her trainer drags her out into the night to be attacked by bats! Don't worry--nothing happened.

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